Brunswick theater sues N.J. high school, theater over ‘Spamalot’ costume rental

Posted April 12, 2014, at 9:29 a.m.
Last modified April 15, 2014, at 6:46 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine State Music Theatre’s lawsuit filed against a New Jersey high school and a nearby theater company over the rental last year of costumes for the musical “Monty Python’s Spamalot” was moved Thursday to U.S. District Court.

The Brunswick-based summer theater company, which includes a division that rents costumes and props for frequently performed musicals, originally filed the lawsuit in Cumberland County Superior Court in February. Maine State Music Theatre, or MSMT, sued Edison High School in Edison, N.J., Nicholas Kaminski of Edison, N.J., and the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan, N.J., alleging the Brunswick theater is owed nearly $41,000 for missing items and those damaged beyond repair, nearly $4,000 in dry cleaning fees, $15,000 in rental fees and $151,695 in late charges.

The costume package, which includes a full set of original costumes from the London production of the show, were rented to Edison High School for $10,000, rather than the usual $15,000, in February 2013 by Kaminski, according to the complaint. Kaminski allegedly lent the costume package to the Algonquin without permission from MSMT.

Attorneys for the Algonquin were able to move the case to federal court because the theater company is located outside of Maine.

The high school production ran from March 13 to 23, the complaint said. Halfway through the run of that show, Kaminski allegedly asked MSMT whether the Algonquin could use the costume package for its show, which ran April 12-21, 2013. MSMT personnel said the company would have to pay the full $15,000 rental fee, the complaint said.

Edison High School paid the rental fee but Algonquin never did, according to the complaint.

The costume package was due back in Brunswick on April 10, 2013, the complaint said, but Kaminski allegedly asked for an extension on April 1, 2013, because he was busy performing in Algonquin’s production. The Spamalot costumes and props were returned on April 24, 2013, but not in the condition required by the contract, MSMT claimed.

MSMT’s attorney, Meredith Eilers of Portland, did not return phone calls Friday.

Efforts on Friday to reach Edison High School and Kaminski or their attorneys were unsuccessful.

Algonquin’s Maine attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the counts of the complaint that deal with the theater company for failure to state a claim.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot” is a musical comedy adapted from the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The musical premiered on Broadway in 2005 and won three Tony awards, including Best Musical. MSMT last performed the show in 2010, according to information on its website.

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